Monday, July 15, 2013

Family stands by custodial dad accused of murdering 10-year-old daughter (Pawtucket, Rhode Island)

It's called denial, folks. The red flags were apparent all along--if anybody had bothered to pay attention.

Dad is identified as JORGE DEPINA.

All things being equal, children need to be with their mothers. I'm sure if Daddy had wanted to, he could have provided this little girl with everything she needed: enough money to eat well back in Cape Verde, along with decent medical/dental care, etc.

But no, he uproots this poor homesick little girl who missed her mother terribly--and basically proceeded to torture her to death--or so the evidence strongly suggests.

 But, of course, he manages to convince everybody what a Great Dad he is, what a Great Provider.  Typical bullsh** from these killer dads. Seen in all cultures and nationalities.

Family members stand by Pawtucket man accused of killing his daughter

July 12, 2013 11:00 PM By AMANDA MILKOVITS Journal Staff Writer

PAWTUCKET — The man whom the police accuse of murdering his 10-year-old daughter is not the Jorge DePina his family knows.

The Cape Verdean native, who broke down weeping on July 5 as he faced charges of abuse leading to the death of his only child, Aleida Cristiane, had been “father and mother” to her, his family said.

They know him as a man who worked nights cleaning and borrowed money to bring Aleida here from Cape Verde more than two years ago. They saw the clothes and toys he bought for her, the big parties he threw for her birthday that went all night, the public declarations that she was his “princess.”

They saw her as a lucky little girl, with a generous and loving father.

They can’t explain the puncture wounds on her back, the fresh bite marks, bruises and burns that police and medical staff said they found on Aleida’s body.

They weren’t there on July 3, the day Aleida DePina was dying in her father’s first-floor apartment at 48 Knowles St.

They didn’t know she was sick, until Jorge DePina called them from Miriam Hospital in Providence, where he’d brought her body late that afternoon.

The medical examiner said Aleida died from a blow that perforated her small intestine, leading to an infection that killed her. The police say Jorge DePina landed the fatal blow.

“Whatever they’re saying about my brother is a lie,” said his younger brother, Humberto DePina. “Anybody who knew my brother knew he was a protector. He wouldn’t hurt a little kid.”

DePina’s family and friends are hurting about the death of the girl they called “Cris.” They are ashamed about the negative attention it has drawn to them and the rest of the Cape Verdean community in the city.

They are angry that DePina is accused — wrongly, they say. They say they know him better than the police, better than the doctors, better than the science being used to charge him with a heinous crime.

“I’ll give my life for his innocence. I would, I would, I would,” Humberto said. “Because I trust the guy.”

And they want to know what happened to Aleida, too.

Jorge DePina was 9 years old when his father, Diamantino DePina Jr., left the family in Praia, Cape Verde, for the United States. The little boy became a father figure to his younger siblings, Humberto and sister, Joisa.

Jorge DePina and a woman in Praia had Aleida on June 9, 2003, his family said. DePina left Cape Verde when Aleida was a toddler, but he sent money, toys and clothes back to the little girl, his family said. He was cleaning buildings at night and eventually became a barber, setting up a shop in his apartment.

Eight years later, Jorge DePina brought his daughter to live with him in Pawtucket. “She came here for better education, a better life and better medical attention,” Humberto said.

On March 27, 2011, Joisa flew back to America with Aleida. Aleida wasn’t yet 8 years old, and she was tiny, with chicken pox, dandruff and a mouth full of rotten teeth, Joisa said.

Humberto and his wife, Jeisa Marques, recommended their children’s pediatrician in Providence. The doctor was upset about Aleida’s condition, they said.

She was a beautiful, doe-eyed girl, but there were other things about Aleida that her family noticed. “She didn’t talk,” Joisa said. “When she was at home, it’s like nobody’s there.”

Joisa said she would talk to her. “For a while, all she was saying was, ‘I miss my mom. I miss my mom.’

”Jorge DePina told them that Aleida wouldn’t eat. They cooked, but they said Aleida hid the food to pretend she was eating. Jeisa Marques found food hidden under the carpet. Joisa would wash Aleida’s clothes and find food stuffed in her leggings, her socks, and squirreled away in other places.

She had trouble defecating and sometimes wouldn’t go for days, Humberto DePina said.

She was “extra shy” about the bathroom, said Humberto. He and his wife recalled a time when Aleida urinated and defecated in her clothes, rather than walk past them to use their bathroom.

Jorge DePina gave them money to buy any food Aleida would eat, Marques said. He bought her bicycles, clothes, toys.

For her last birthday party on June 15, Jorge DePina bought his daughter a cake from a bakery in Boston and a $160 pink dress. He braided her hair.

The party went into the early morning hours. Police were called about the loud gathering and noise, which was not uncommon for Jorge DePina’s gatherings.

For some relatives, it was the last time they saw Aleida alive.

What happened on July 3 is under investigation.

Jorge DePina later told detectives that Aleida had been vomiting all day. He didn’t seek medical attention for her. Instead, he left her home alone, according to Pawtucket police Maj. Arthur Martins.

Jorge DePina went to Home Depot on Charles Street in Providence, where he bought a shelf, an air-conditioning unit and other items; the purchases were rung up at 11:56 a.m., noon and 12:08 p.m., according to the Pawtucket police.

Mid-afternoon, Antonio Semedo was outside his house on Knowles Street, a few blocks from where Jorge and Aleida live. He’d known Jorge DePina for about a year and was letting Jorge borrow his minivan.

Semedo saw DePina drive up Knowles Street in a different vehicle with two people he didn’t recognize. DePina was weeping, Semedo remembered.

“He told me, ‘My daughter’s dead,’ ” Semedo said. “I was shocked. He was crying and he couldn’t even stop. I was like: She’s only 10 years old.”

Later, around 4:30 p.m., DePina drove Semedo’s minivan to Miriam Hospital in Providence and carried his daughter inside. She was already dead. A nurse told police later that there was nothing they could do. Aleida was pronounced dead at 4:42 p.m.

DePina told police officers that Aleida hadn’t felt good all day and had been vomiting violently in the house, according to a Pawtucket police report. He told them that he brought her to the hospital after she lost consciousness, and that he performed CPR on her on the way to the hospital.

Jorge DePina was inconsolable, angry and distraught, the police said.

“He called me from the hospital, desperate, crying,” Humberto DePina said. “He said, ‘Something has happened to Cris and the doctors don’t want to tell me what.’

” When he got to the hospital, Humberto said he’d never seen his brother that way. “He was lying on the floor. It was terrible. I was asking, ‘What’s going on?’ ”

The medical staff and police gathered around Aleida’s body in the emergency room.

A nurse showed them the injuries they found.

In an affidavit, Pawtucket Detective Donti Rosciti wrote that Aleida was malnourished, had numerous bruises on her hips, thighs, buttocks, and stomach, numerous puncture wounds on her back, and ligature marks on her wrists.

Investigators found vomit in Aleida’s bedroom and “a stream of vomit” from Jorge’s bedroom window into the driveway. “It appeared to have been dumped out the window with the black bucket that was in [Aleida’s] bedroom,” Detective Dave Silva wrote in his report.

The seats of the minivan were also covered in vomit, Martins confirmed.

Meanwhile, the Pawtucket detectives asked DePina to come back to the station with them.

DePina speaks English with an accent though he preferred his native Creole. Detective Silva, who is Cape Verdean, spoke to him in Creole and translated for Rosciti. DePina answered some questions in English.

As the interview went on for several hours, DePina began to cry. He was charged that day with first-degree child abuse and child neglect.

Chief medical examiner Christina Stanley performed the autopsy the next morning in the presence of Dr. Amy Goldberg from the Child Protection Program at Hasbro Children’s Hospital, forensic dentist Dr. Lena Karkalas, and Pawtucket detectives. She determined that Aleida died from small bowel perforation with peritonitis, due to blunt-force trauma.

Her father had no explanation for any of her injuries, Martins said.

The medical examiner ruled the manner of death was homicide. On July 5, DePina was charged with murder.

Detectives are interviewing the staff at Elizabeth Baldwin School, where Aleida had just finished the fourth grade, just a few blocks from her house. “We’re completely, obviously, cooperating with them,” said Superintendent Deborah Cylke.

The teachers and staff were devastated by Aleida’s death, and as in the aftermath of any tragedy, people are asking themselves what they’d missed. But, Cylke said, there were no reports from staff about any problems with Aleida, because they hadn’t seen any marks or signs of abuse.

Cylke said the school staff did not report any problems with Aleida hoarding food or having “toileting” issues. “If anything, school personnel are ultra-conservative with reporting. You’d rather report it and have it not be true, than not report it,” Cylke said.

Aleida’s teacher had described her as a quiet girl, more shy than outgoing, but not withdrawn, Cylke said.

“This is my 35th year in education, and this is one of the saddest things we’ve dealt with,” Cylke said.

On Knowles Street, Antonio Semedo said he hadn’t slept in days.

He learned about Aleida’s death from her father. He learned about DePina’s arrest from the media, Semedo said.

“If he got arrested, he did something wrong, in my opinion,” Semedo said. “The only thing I know is it’s in his soul. She’s a little girl. How could it happen?”

Her aunts have bought Aleida’s funeral outfit — a white dress, with a white ribbon at the waist, white stockings and sparkly Hello Kitty jewelry.

But they can’t believe her father is responsible for her death.

Jorge DePina is at the Adult Correctional Institutions, held until a bail hearing on Friday in District Court. His father wishes he could ask him questions. “She is my granddaughter, but she is my daughter, too,” Diamantino said.

“I told the detective,” Diamantino said, “I want to know the truth, too.”